Dealing with Complex Situation of Balochistan
Although endless wave of terror-attacks continues in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi, yet deteriorating circumstances of Balochistan also need special attention, raising the question as to how deal with the complex situation of the province.
Recent incidents of terrorism in Balochistan, which targeted Quaid-e-Azam residency in Ziarat, replacing Pakistan’s flag with that of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), murdering daughters of the nation in Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University, and assault Bolan Medical Complex, killed several persons—created sense of distress among masses. Separatist outfit, BLA and the extremist sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) felt pride in claiming responsibility for these brutal acts.
While terror-acts still keep on going in Balochistan, but without grasping reality, anti-establishment and anti-law-enforcing persons, which include some politicians, ministers, lawyers, human rights activists and media anchors are issuing false statements, thus conducting false propaganda against Pak Army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) including other law-enforcing agencies. It seems ridiculous when some of them allegedly say that law-enforcing agencies are behind terrorist activities in Balochistan.
They are misguiding the general masses by shifting the blame game towards country’s security agencies regarding the intricate phenomenon of Balochistan by diverting the attention from ground realities.
While driven by the foreign conspiracy, the other aim of these internal entities is to create a perception among the masses that security agencies are solely responsible for all the chaos, carnage and disorder in Balochistan and hence punitive measures should be taken to restrict their authority by empowering those elements which are well-reputed for their anti-armed forces perspective. The divisive psychological campaign is being run to widen the gulf between civil-military leadership and spoil civil-military relations.
In fact, like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the foreign-backed separatist groups such as BLA, Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) and Baloch Republican Party (BRA) had accelerated their terror-activities by targeting the leaders, offices of Balochistan National Party (BNP) and the National Party (NP) including independent candidates to sabotage the elections 2013. But, despite their boycott-call, BNP and NP including several independent candidates and Baloch nationalists participated in the polls in wake of threats and violent assaults on the polling stations.
The purpose behind the latest bombings especially by the BLA were to give a message to the new Balochistan government led by the nationalist and moderate Baloch Chief Minister Abdul Malik that their insurgents would fail his elected regime in the province, while the latter wants to address the Baloch discontent within the federation of Pakistan.
No doubt, based in Afghanistan, secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which have already been arranging terror-assaults on various places of Pakistan, security forces, sectarian violence etc. through TTP, BLA and other similar militant groups, intend to destabilise Pakistan so as to complete the secret strategic designs of their countries. Particularly, RAW has hired the services of Indian Muslims who have well-penetrated in BLA, TTP, Jundollah, (God’s soldiers) and LeJ, have been conducting subversive acts in various provinces, particularly Balochistan.
It is mentionable that Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has repeatedly disclosed that militants along with huge cache of arms are being sent to Pakistan, especially in Balochistan from Afghanistan. In this regard, on July 23, 2008, Brahmdagh Bugti had told the BBC that they had the right to accept foreign aid and arms from anywhere including India.
Notably, India, US and Israel have also been internationalising the Balochistan issue in accordance with their covert agenda. In this respect, in connivance with the Baloch separatist leaders who have taken refuge in Swizerland, Sweden, US, London and some other western countries, these external elements use media, various NGOs and human rights organisations for false propaganda against Pak Army and ISI including Frontier Corps (FC) in relation to extrajudicial killings, mutilated bodies and the missing persons.
The truth behind human rights violations, the missing persons and aggravated law and order situation of Balochistan is that militant groups like BLA, BLF, BRA and Jundollah which have been fighting for secession of Balochistan kidnapped and massacred many innocent people who include teachers, professors, lawyers, Shias and the security personnel in the province. Many persons in Balochistan have also been killed in suicide attacks and bomb blasts, planted by these foreign-backed outfits. On a number of occasions, these insurgents groups claimed responsibility for their criminal activities. In the past few years, they kidnapped and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. Besides targeting Punjabis and other ethnic minorities in the province, they also arranged subversive acts in the Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan. In this context, Tehran had directly named CIA for funding of terrorist attacks.
A majority of the disappeared individuals are also in the detention centres (Farrari Camps) which are being run by Baloch feudal lords (Sardars). With the assistance of US-led India and Israel, these Sardars are fighting for their so-called prestige, status and influence, and want to continue old system of feudalism in the province.
As regards the complex phenomenon of the province, our internal elements must also know that Balochistan’s geo-strategic location with deep Gwadar seaport, connecting rest of the world with Central Asia has further irked the eyes of the US and India because Beijing has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. Notably, by rejecting US growing pressure, on March 11, 2013 Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated the gas pipeline project with Iran. Meanwhile, Pakistan has handed over the control of Gwader seaport to China. During the trip of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang to Islamabad, Pakistan and China signed several agreements on May 22, this year to strengthen and diversify cooperation in various fields. Beijing would also provide financial aid to Islamabad to complete the Gwader seaport. Premier Li Keqiang supported Pakistan’s proposal of China-Pakistan economic corridor to improve connectivity between Pakistan and China, saying that both sides decided on a long term programme—a strategic idea, assuring that Beijing was also ready to upgrade Karrakuram Highway and to sign Sino-Pak civilian nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, a day before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Islamabad; Chinese engineers being driven through Clifton Block-1 in Karachi escaped a major bomb attack. Besides, on June 23, the TTP militants killed nine foreign mountain-climbers in the Nanga Parbat, Gilgit-Baltistan, which also included five Ukrainians and a number of Chinese nationals. It clearly shows that the US and India intend to disrupt Pak-China growing relations by backing their affiliated-insurgent groups.
However, Pakistan’s law-enforcing and intelligence agencies have thwarted many terror attempts of the militants in Balochistan, while several personnel of the security forces have sacrificed their lives for improving situation in the province. But they were discouraged and demoralised when speaking in the tone of foreign enemies, some anti-Pakistan prominent personalities and media anchors start maligning these agencies without any logic.
Another hurdle is that these key agencies’ actions were being challenged in the courts. The insurgents’ lawyers availed the opportunity by indicating procedural penal flaws. Thus many terrorists were freed by the courts due to lack of solid evidence in legal terms, though reality of their subversive activities existed. Due to this practice, efficiency of law-enforcing agencies drops to zero level, making the concerned official insecure.
Terrorist presently under custody, if released by the court due to judicial discourse will certainly join their main terrorist networks, thereby strengthening terrorist groups. Consequently, this ‘new style war’ will turn in favor of terrorists instead of law-enforcing and intelligence agencies which may suffer more in the hands of terrorists.
Nevertheless, in these adverse circumstances as to how law-enforcing agencies and security forces will cope with the complex situation of Balochistan.
It is also the responsibility of the federal and provincial governments to restore peace in Balochistan. The best way is that top political leadership and government functionaries must support the security and intelligence agencies and encourage them for their future performance and should stop supporting the cause of terrorists and separatists indirectly.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs